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Steamed Mussels in Thai Curry Sauce

Steamed Mussels in Thai Curry Sauce

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  • 2 13.5-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk* (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste**
  • 1 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 2 stalks lemongrass,** trimmed, coarsely chopped (about 1/3 cup) or 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)**
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves or 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel
  • 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Recipe Preparation

  • Bring coconut milk to boil in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium; add curry paste and whisk until dissolved. Add next 6 ingredients. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Strain into bowl.

  • Heat peanut oil in large deep skillet over high heat. Add mussels. Sauté 2 minutes. Add strained curry sauce. Cover and cook until mussels open, about 4 minutes (discard any mussels that do not open). Transfer to large serving bowl. Sprinkle with tomatoes and cilantro and serve.

Recipe by Yarrow Bay Grill in Kirkland WAReviews Section

How to Make Steamed Mussels With a Thai Curry-Coconut Broth

I've gone on record saying that mussels are the easiest choose-your-own-adventure one-pot meal around, and I intend to prove it to you.

Classic moules marinières are all well and good, but what if we want something, oh, a little more interesting? Depending on the ingredients you add—the base aromatics, the cooking liquid, the enriching agents, and the finishing aromatics—you can create a whole new flavor profile, inspired by a completely distinct cooking tradition, in record time.

This version draws on flavors from central Thailand to create a dish whose basic process is pretty much identical to the French version, but whose results are entirely different. All it takes is curry paste, coconut milk, and a few other odds and ends.

Since mussels cook so darn fast anyway, I like to take a little bit of extra time to either make my own curry paste from scratch—using a good mortar and pestle, this takes about 10 minutes—or, at the very least, doctor up some store-bought green curry paste with a few fresh herbs and spices. In this case, I used garlic, cilantro stems (I saved the leaves for garnish), lime zest, dried Thai chilies, and whole coriander seeds.

The rest of the recipe follows my standard mussel technique almost to a T.

I start by heating up some of the skimmed fat from the top of a can of coconut milk, along with a little bit of oil. To this I add my basic aromatics: shallots and sliced garlic, along with a big spoonful of the curry paste.

Once those aromatics have softened and released their flavor, I add my base liquid. Coconut milk forms the bulk of it, along with a few big dashes of fish sauce and a touch of sugar to balance out the heat from the curry paste.

As soon as it comes to a boil, the mussels go in and the lid goes down. I cook the mussels just long enough to let them open (nobody likes an overcooked mussel, except perhaps my dog, who seems to like overcooked anything).

Finally, a shower of fresh cilantro leaves and sliced fresh chilies, along with a squeeze of lime juice, finish it off. This is the kind of dish that just demands plenty of sticky rice for sopping up the briny, sweet, hot, aromatic juices, though a spoon (or just lifting the darned bowl straight up to your lips) will serve you nicely as well.

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Easy to make and it was good, but not great. I expected more Thai flavor. I did add garlic, ginger, and lemongrass but possibly not enough. Husband liked it. I would make it again with some changes

Great recipe. The whole family enjoyed it. Definitely will make again and again.

This is definitely a four-fork on ease of preparation. But measuring the entire dining experience, anything more than a 3-fork in not warranted. I made the recipe as is, but I did half all ingredients other than curry paste, cilantro and garlic. The added presence of those key ingredients couldn't add much life to the dish. It was good - nothing memorable. I'm quite convinced it's all in the curry paste. I used Thai Kitchen, which is predictably boring. I will try it again using an authentic Thai curry paste or make my own. I will re-review the recipe if the results are significantly different.

Great recipe. But do use authentic Thai curry paste such as Mae Ploy (made in Thailand). Thai Kitchen or other U.S. made brands are just too bland.

You don't know me, but you'll appreciate me: Increase the red curry to 2 tablespoons for better flavor base. Add 1 serrano chili, sliced, with seeds for appropriate heat. For Weight Watchers and others concerned about fat, use light coconut milk (in the end, a little less creamy, but not a noticeable drawback). Pair with Sauvignon Blanc to perfectly pair with the garlic, cilantro, lime, and slight brine of the mussels.

Maybe it was the curry paste I bought, but I thought this was good but not great. It seems like it was missing something.

Killer good as written! Of course, be careful with the red curry paste if you're serving folks who are sensitive to heat.

Fantastic recipe! Quick and easy too. Turned up the heat a bit with some Thai chilli peppers. This one earnes a permanent place in my recipe box. Will try with shrimp next! A Keeper!

Very good but not very spicy at all. Ended up adding 1 Serrano chili when I boiled all the other ingredients. Also added a little salt. Saved and froze the left over broth, with the idea of using it in another seafood with rice dish.

So easy and delicious. Will definitely make again, now my favourite mussels recipe.

3.5 forks! This is a great recipe, very good for a small amount of effort/time but not the ➾st' mussels I have ever had. I got 3 lbs for 2 girls and 1 very hungry guy (a few shells were broken, a couple didn't open). I followed the recipe as written and used Thai Kitchen Red Curry paste found at Whole Foods. The flavor was good, but slightly flat. I will try again, adding lemongrass, thai basil or maybe sriracha/thai chile. The curry flavor is nice, but could use a tiny tweak. All in all, I will make again for an easy dinner but not yet for a dinner party!

Although not spicy, these were amazing. So quick, so easy, so delicious! I substituted a mix of chopped thai basil, mint and cilantro for the plain cilantro. We will certainly make this again and again.

This has to be the best recipe for mussels I have ever tasted. Sopping up the left over liquid with a crusty bread is sooo good. Use this recipe everytime I cook them now. The best!

I have made this recipe a few times and agree that it is wonderful. Simple, quick, and delicious.

Made this for the first time today, and it came out wonderfully. Instead of cilantro I actually used a bunch of basil and considered it a nice addition. Also, I added one Jalepeno pepper (thinly sliced) to add a nice spice to the dish. Penomenal!!

Loved this recipe. Made it for 2 by just using 3 lbs of mussels. Tastes just like a dish I had in a restaurant. The sauce is really great. I actually think it could use MORE curry paste, but I like my food very spicy.

3.5 starts. This has terrific flavor for the short time it takes to make. I too would add more curry paste next time. I used light coconut milk, which I think made the broth a little too thin.

I forgot to include the 1/4 cup chopped shallots I add with the chopped ginger and other additional incredients - see last review.

This recipe is fantastic with the following additions: 2 chopped lemon grass stalks, 1 1/2 T chopped ginger, 1 large chopped tomato. I use vermouth or dry sherry for the wine. I add extra Thai red curry paste as other reviewers have suggested. Before serving, toss with 1 c chopped basil and 1/2 to 1 c chopped cilantro. I use the Pencove mussels from Costco.

It was good with the Kitchen Thai red curry but we felt it needed more spice. Next time we will do that. We did buy bread to sop up the liquid, which was a great idea recommended by others.

It was good but seriously needed more spice as others recommended. Used the Red Thai Kitchen curry paste. Added some sliced jalaeno at the end to kick it up a little. I will make this again but will add a little more spice next time. I did buy bread to mop up the sauce which was a great idea, thanks to the others who recommended it.

This recipe has been a staple at our house for many years. I recently experimented with freezing the extra broth and then using it in an thai inspired seafood risotto dish, which turned out amazing! Make your favourite risotto recipe and sub.this broth for stock (may need a little extra low sod. clam juice) add your choice of fresh seafood and enjoy.

This was the best mussels I've ever had, even from a restaurant. I love the coconut curry flavour. I had yellow curry paste which worked fine. Will definately be making these again.

This red curry recipe is the best on the site. I've tried others for salmon but this broth works for everything! I've used it for shrimp as well.

We are big on mussels in MTL and I've been to most restaurants and tried most recipes. I have been making this one for a few years now and it's still the best! The fresh taste of the cilantro combined with the hot red curry paste is just amazing. BRAVO!

Coconut Curry Broth Ingredients

This recipe would be fantastic with other seafood as well, such as clams or shrimp. Use the broth ingredients as a guideline and add more sweet or saltiness as preferred.

Shallot, Garlic and Ginger: Aromatics to get the dish going. You could also do 1/2 red or sweet white onion.

Red Curry Paste: I took help from the store and used Thai Red Curry Paste which has great flavor. Green curry paste would work great too.

Coconut Milk: For creaminess and richness

Fish Sauce: Just a few drops offers a true savoriness and saltiness that goes so well with the other flavors.

Brown Sugar: or you could use palm sugar, but brown sugar is easily accessible and just a bit of sweetness, and again, layers so swell with the other savory and salty flavors.

Fresh Herbs and Lime: Just at the end for a finish hit of brightness.

Sake-Steamed Mussels in Thai Red Curry Sauce

This dish drew &ldquooohs&rdquo and &ldquoahs&rdquo all around when Ben Smith served it at the Beard House. If you prefer a less rich taste, our recipe tester tells us that light coconut milk also works fine.


  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, white part only, chopped fine
  • 4 large leaves fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • Chopped chives or basil as garnish, optional
  • 3 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/2 cup sake


To make the sauce, combine the coconut milk, lemongrass, basil, brown sugar, fish sauce, and ginger in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then reduce to a simmer. Dissolve the curry paste in a small bowl by stirring in some of the hot coconut milk mixture. Add this liquid back to the saucepan and simmer until the volume is reduced by about half, around 15 minutes.

When the sauce is almost finished, discard any mussels that are open. Place the remaining mussels and sake in another heavy-bottomed pot. Bring the sake to a boil, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and steam the mussels for about 5 minutes, until they have all opened. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place the mussels into 6 warmed bowls. Drizzle the coconut-curry sauce over the mussels, garnish with chopped chives or basil, and serve immediately.

Green lipped mussels

Native to New Zealand these mussels are longer and plumper then most mussels and are known for their beautiful green lipped shells. These plump mussels are sweet and delicate in flavour and are believed to have a number of health benefits. These mussels are known for there anti- inflammatory properties, high in omega- 3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of zinc, iron, selenium and several B- vitamins. So its of little surprise, you can now buy green lipped mussel supplements! But we prefer the real deal and the flavour in this recipe, adds to all that goodness!

Discover more delicious recipes:

Steamed Mussels 10 Ways

By Chef Michael Smith &bull 10 years ago

Mussels travel with their own built-in sauce base. They’re easy to steam and, when you do, they release a flavourful broth that many connoisseurs swear is the best part. That broth can be flavoured any way you want, so mussels are also a great ingredient to freestyle with.


5-6 pounds of mussels, rinsed well with cold running water
1 cup of any flavourful liquid
1 cup of any other flavourful ingredients
1-2 splashes of olive oil or a spoonful or so of butter


Wash the mussels very well and discard any that are open and won’t close with a bit of gentle finger pressure.

Pour the liquid and other aromatic ingredients of your choice into a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the mussels and cover with the lid. Shake the pot occasionally and cook until all the mussels have opened, 10 minutes or so. Discard any that haven’t opened.

Spoon out the mussels into a serving bowl. Strain the remaining liquid and serve over the mussels. There’s always a bit of broken shell or lingering sand in it.


1. Thai: coconut milk and a spoonful of Thai curry paste

2. Southwestern: salsa, cilantro and a splash of tequila

3. Mediterranean: tomato purée, minced garlic and capers

4. Italian: canned tomatoes, minced garlic and Basil Pesto

5. Greek: tomato juice, chopped olives, minced garlic, artichoke hearts, the zest and juice of 2 lemons, a spoonful of oregano and olive oil

6. French: white wine, Dijon mustard and butter

7. English: a can of Guinness beer and sliced onions

8. Apple: apple cider with a splash of apple cider vinegar

9. Japanese: a few spoonfuls of soy sauce, a splash of rice wine vinegar, a few drops of toasted sesame oil and sliced green onions

10. California: orange juice, orange marmalade, lemon juice and diced red bell pepper

Recipe Summary

  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Thai chiles, thickly sliced
  • One 1 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Two 13 1/2-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt
  • One 11- to 12-ounce bottle lager
  • 5 pounds mussels, scrubbed

In a food processor, combine the garlic, chiles, ginger, cilantro, lime zest and olive oil and process to a paste transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in the coconut milk and lime juice and season with salt.

In a large soup pot, bring the lager to a boil over high heat. Boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 7 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and cook, shaking the pot a few times, until the mussels just begin to open, about 4 minutes.

Uncover the mussels and stir in the coconut milk mixture. Cover and cook, shaking the pot a few times, until all of the mussels open, about 8 minutes. Spoon the mussels and broth into bowls and serve.

Thai Curried Mussels

1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoon red Thai curry paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/3 cup sake
2 scallions, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 pounds mussels
6 leaves fresh cilantro, cut into fine shreds
4 leaves Thai basil, cut into fine shreds

Thai Steamed Mussels

Eva Baughman has worked as a mom, a pastry chef and a recipe tester. She enjoys travel and nature photography.

Thai Steamed Mussels Photo credit: Eva Baughman

This recipe is featured in American Terroir

“Steamed mussels are so easy, affordable, fast, and delicious that I don’t understand why more people don’t make them at home. (In fact, if you really want to keep things simple, replace everything but the mussels and coconut milk in the following recipe with a tablespoon or two of jarred red curry paste, and away you go.) Avoid buying wild mussels, which are invariably filled with grit. Of the many versions of steamed mussels, I find the one with Thai flavors to be the best, though I wouldn’t kick the Indian (curry and ginger), the Italian (white wine, garlic, tomato, and parsley), or the French (white wine, cream, and tarragon) varieties out of bed, either. If you’re not serving this with fries, a hot loaf of crusty bread is essential for mopping up the sauce.” — from American Terroir by Rowan Jacobsen


  • 4 pounds mussels
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce*
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

*Bottles of fish sauce (often with a freaky-looking baby on the front) are available in most supermarkets these days. Three dollars gets you a lifetime supply. Used like soy sauce, it will improve the taste of half the things you cook.


1. Rinse and scrub the mussels under cold running water. Discard any with broken or open shells these are already dead. Remove any “beards” – the byssal thread, which sticks out of the middle of the mussel and which it uses for web-slinging itself around, Spider-Man-style. It’s an impressive piece of hardware, and unbelievably tough. To remove it, use a paring knife for leverage and yank it out with your thumb. You can also snip it off with scissors, but then you leave a little beard inside.

2. Combine everything but the fresh herbs in a large pot, cover, and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mussel shells have opened and the mussels have plumped up, about 12 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, dump the mussels into a large serving bowl, toss the herbs on top, and let everybody have at it. Or, if decorum is of the essence, serve them in individual bowls. Either way, you’ll need a bowl for the discarded shells.

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Eva Baughman

Eva Baughman has loved studying and practicing photography since buying a second hand Nikkormat SLR when she was first out of college. Photography took a secondary role while she raised a family and worked as a pastry chef and as a recipe tester. When her nest emptied, her passion to create images was reignited. Now it’s with a Pentax DSLR, a Fujifilm X-T1 and in the digital darkroom. She especially enjoys travel and nature photography, has exhibited in New Hampshire, and has had her photos published by the New York Times for food-related stories. She is a member of the New England Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.